Mystery Education Theater 3000

Charles Cowens…District Volunteer [Cue Music]

I signed the ballot argument (the rebuttal part) against the latest WCCUSD bond measure (measure H) to increase our “Ramsey tax.” Although I would have written things a little differently, I thought it was important to take a stand against the bond measure.

I would have been more rebutting in the rebuttal. The safety canard (after 6 bonds they haven’t addressed concerns about asbestos yet?) should have been confronted. Also, the routine recital of taxpayer protections, our committee and the audits, should have been called out on the grounds that they aren’t very protective if we need a seventh bond.

Anyway, originally, I thought I would sign it as “Member, WCCUSD Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee [For ID Purposes Only]”. However, at a recent CBOC meeting, a member raised concerns about members using their affiliation with the CBOC, so I decided I couldn’t comfortably use it without some kind of discussion in the committee first.

In the meantime, I have to use some designation that explains how I am connected to the issue beyond just being a citizen. I decided on “District Volunteer” as the best fall-back. I volunteer as a public official in the West County Unified School District by being on this committee.

However, when I looked at this, I immediately thought it was a title for some 30’s-style radio drama like “Nick Danger…Third Eye” (Firesign Theater reference). In this case, it’s “Charles Cowens…District Volunteer.” So, in the interests of fun, I’ve decided I need a theme song as Charles Cowens…District Volunteer.” After careful deliberation, I’ve decided on the opening to Danger Man a.k.a. Secret Agent, Patrick McGoohan’s big show before The Prisoner.

Categories: WCCUSD

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1 Comment

  1. It seems that nobody is going to take up my notion to sue the District for placing a non-conforming 55% bond measure on the ballot. How about an easier and cheaper angle? File a formal sworn FPPC complaint against Charles Ramsey’s “For the Children of West County” PAC, charging that it has failed to: (1) properly register and report as a Primarily Formed Committee, and (2) properly register and report as a Candidate Controlled Committee.

    For #1, note that the PAC has never engaged in any activities other than raising funds and running campaigns for WCCUSD tax measures, and that it is currently engaged in no activity other than raising money and campaigning for the June 3 bond. That’s the definition of Primarily Formed; For the Children of West County is in violation.

    For #2, note that Ramsey (crucially, an elected official) himself frequently brags in public that he personally has raised all of the funds for the tax measure campaigns and that he runs the campaigns. That’s the definition of Candidate Controlled; the PAC is in violation.

    The FPPC will find against the PAC but not until after the election and the penalty will be, at best, a slap on the wrist. That’s not what matters. The aim is to issue a press release upon filing the complaint, “WCCUSD bond campaign violating campaign law; local group files formal complaint.” (Or “Taxpayer group files …”). Contra Costa Times, local blogs, possible radio and TV will pick this up, providing an opportunity to publicly explain the corrupt pay-to-play practices at WCCUSD and the bizarre absence of any capital planning behind these bonds. And the lack of any Board or community discussion about need for bonds. Etc etc. Local reporters will be all over it, especially because they’re already attuned to tax issues in West County from the (failed) hospital parcel tax.

    It’s probably best that the FPPC complaint, press release, etc come from a student advocate/school support organization or individual, but Contra Costa Taxpayers would be good too. (If it needs to be said, I’m not in a position that I can be the spokesperson.)

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